Basketball

Women’s basketball heads to Middle Tennessee for a high-stakes final

Women's basketball heads to Middle Tennessee for a high-stakes final

Old Dominion (22-7, 12-5 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee (21-6, 13-4 C-USA)
Game Information – Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m. ET
Location – Murphy Center (Murfreesboro, TN)
Look – CUSA.tv
Listen – Money Talk 1310 AM 100.9 FM and 97.3 HD2
Live Stats – Click here
Game Notes – ODU

NORFOLK, Virginia – The 30th and final game of the regular season carries enormous weight as the Old Dominion women’s basketball team travels to Middle Tennessee on Saturday with the goal of finishing second in the United States East Division of the Conference and winning to get a double bye to the conference tournament quarterfinals. Saturday’s final tips at 3 p.m. ET and air on CUSA.tv with the radio broadcast on Money Talk 1310 AM 100.9 FM and 97.3 HD2.

The starting five

The final game of the regular season is a true win-win contest between the Monarchs and Lady Raiders. Saturday’s winner will receive a double bye to the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament while the loser will have to play in the first round. Middle Tennessee can claim a share of the Eastern Division title and the No. 1 seed with a win over ODU and a loss at Charlotte on Saturday. The Monarchs can’t finish better than second with a win and no worse than third with a loss.

ODU led 22-11 after the first quarter, led 32-28 at halftime and led 62-61 with 22 seconds left before losing 65-62 to LA Tech on Wednesday. The Monarchs opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run to even the score and built a six-point advantage just after halftime, but the Lady Techsters scored the game’s final four points to squeeze through with the Victoire. Iggy Allen scored 20 points in the loss and surpassed 1,000 career points in the process.

On February 14, the head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones was announced as a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Milton-Jones boasts a career filled with accolades in the game. She received the Wade Trophy in 1997 as the top female college basketball player and won two Olympic gold medals and two WNBA titles. She is the seventh person with ODU ties to hit the hall and is only the 13th active DI head coach in the WBHOF.

The Monarchs are one of the tightest defensive units in the country this year. ODU entered Friday ranked 20th nationally and first in C-USA in scoring (55.1). The Monarchs 37th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.275). ODU rotates teams more than 20.41 times per game (17th in DI, 1st in C-USA) while averaging the 25th most steals per game (10.5) in the country. Additionally, ODU is second in the conference and 66th in DI with 4.1 blocks per game.

On February 19, 2021, the Monarchs sat 6-9 overall and 3-8 in Conference USA before finishing the season with seven wins in their final nine games. The Monarchs are 29-9 (.763) combined since the Feb. 19 loss to UAB. These are the biggest wins by a C-USA team over this span, and no C-USA team can match ODU’s winning percentage since Feb. 19, 2021.

Scouting in Central Tennessee

The Lady Raiders (21-6, 13-4) remain in pursuit of a share of the C-USA East Division title and can claim the No. 1 seed in the next conference tournament with a win and a defeat at Charlotte on Saturday.

Middle Tennessee secured a potential tiebreaker against Charlotte with a 72-65 win on Wednesday to give the Lady Raiders the 49ers’ season sweep.

MTSU made seven 3-pointers in the win and held Charlotte to 4-of-21 (.190) from deep. On the season, the Lady Raiders lead the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (.329), 3-pointers made (257) and 3-pointers attempted (781) and are second-best in keeping the 3-point line. dots (.260).

Kseniya Malashka came off the bench on Wednesday and scored 27 points with four treys. Malashka is the Lady Raiders’ leading scorer this season with 13.0 points per game. She also averages 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks.

Courtney Whitson is averaging 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Dor Saar leads Middle Tennessee with 3.3 assists per game and 65 3-pointers.

The series

Old Dominion can tie the all-time series with Middle Tennessee on Saturday. The Monarchs are 6-7 against the Lady Raiders but have won four of the last five meetings, including a 58-56 result on Feb. 10.

ODU built a 10-point halftime lead and made a pair of defensive saves in the dying seconds of the game to hold the Lady Raiders in charge.

Allen led the Monarchs with 13 points and nine rebounds. She went 9 of 12 from the foul line and made a pair of foul shots with four seconds remaining to seal the win.

And after

The Monarchs are heading directly to Frisco, Texas for the Conference USA tournament which runs from March 8-12. If the Monarchs receive the No. 2 seed in the East, they will play the quarterfinals Thursday at 3 p.m. If ODU is the No. 3 seed, it will play at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Full support for the C-USA tournament will be released Saturday night.